microsoft metaverse ai

Software giant Microsoft is shutting down one of its most significant groups dedicated to the development and promotion of the industrial metaverse. According to reports, the company terminated its whole Industrial Metaverse Core group, which was composed of 100 employees, as part of the 10,000-person layoff rounds announced in January.

Microsoft Reportedly Terminating Industrial Metaverse Group

Microsoft, the Washington-based software giant, seems to be abandoning the metaverse in favor of other initiatives. According to reports from The Information, the company announced internally the disbandment of the Industrial Metaverse Core group, a division of the company directed to bring the metaverse to industrial environments.

The group, which was formed just 4 months ago, served as a bridge for the implementation of metaverse interfaces to control electrical power plants, industrial robotics, and transportation networks. The division was part of the efforts directed to bring the metaverse to industrial environments by bridging software to this initiative.

The 100 employees that were part of the group were laid off. However, Microsoft has said that the products built by the group will continue to be supported in the future. The company stated:

We are applying our focus to the areas of the industrial metaverse that matter most to our customers and they will see no change in how they are supported. We look forward to sharing additional information in the future.

Microsoft had previously announced a round of 10,000 layoffs as part of a restructuring process in January.

Out With the Metaverse, in With AI

The recent turn of events suggests that Microsoft is taking part of its resources from metaverse initiatives to put into other areas like artificial intelligence (AI). Earlier reports indicate that other metaverse projects have been affected by Microsoft’s cuts, with employees from metaverse platform Altspacevr — which announced its closure by March —and the Mixed Reality Tool Kit, also being laid off.

Microsoft has been putting funds behind AI-based startups since January. On Jan. 23, the company disclosed a “multi-year, multibillion-dollar investment” in Openai, the company behind the development of GPT-3, and its Chatgpt interface. Also, as part of this partnership, Microsoft recently announced the inclusion of Chatgpt in Bing, its search engine, and also as part of Edge, its web browser.

To accompany this move, Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, stated:

AI will fundamentally change every software category, starting with the largest category of all – search.

What do you think about the termination of metaverse-focused groups at Microsoft? Tell us in the comments section below.

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